Tag Archives: Continental Flight 3407

Obama in Buffalo (Updated Live Blog)

13 May

I took my sick kid down to Cheektowaga to watch Air Force One land at BNIA. She, naturally, fell asleep, but I listened in on LiveATC and heard “Air Force One, cleared for landing on runway 5” and watched the blue and white 747 land over Genessee Street – quite an unusual sight.

The pool report indicated that after President Obama met with Flight 3407 families, he traveled to Duff’s in Cheektowaga and ordered 10 wings medium – 5 regular/5 extra crispy – with french fries and onion rings.

Louann Haley of Chaffee greeted Obama with the words: “You’re a hotttie with a smokin’ little body.” Obama’s response: he hugged her.

About 100 people were at Duff’s when the president arrived, and he greeted the surprised patrons with handshakes and hugs.

His remarks at ISI on the East Side just began at 2:23. He likes Duff’s crispy medium and characterizes them as “outstanding”.

On the snow we received last weekend, Obama quipped, “I thought Chicago was bad. Sheesh.”

The President explains that he enjoys visiting communities such as Buffalo to get out of the Washington bubble. He segues into a discussion of the economy, and notes that cities such as Buffalo have been especially hard-hit, long before the last recession began. Expenses went up, but wages didn’t.

When Obama came to office, the economy was in a freefall and experts were warning of another great depression, and people were scared. He defends the TARP and the stimulus, acknowledging that they weren’t that popular, adding to an already extant $1.3 TN budget deficit.

He had to take bold action, and one side of the aisle just sat on the sidelines. Obama states he ran for President to make America great and “we did what the moment required”. He acknowledges that we haven’t climbed out of the hole yet.

Today, “we are headed in the right direction”.

The tough steps the administration took are working. Those who predicted failure have been proven wrong. Job growth in the private sector has gone up – a lot of it in manufacturing. This month was better than last month, next month will be better still. We have gained jobs four months in a row now.

Government is not the true engine of job creation – small businesses like ISI are. They have always been the backbone of America’s economy. They embody the spirit of possibility. Work ethic. Hope. They take a chance on their dreams.

Government can’t guarantee a company’s success, but it can tear down the barriers to expansion and growth. ISI got an SBA loan as part of the stimulus, which let him pay the bills and buy new equipment. ISI grew his workforce, and will hire more people shortly.

Imperial Textile here in WNY received a stimulus-fed SBA loan that helped that company keep all of its workers, and expand its facility. Seven tax cuts for small businesses were enacted, as was the “make work pay” act. $26BN in new lending went forward thanks to the stimulus. $7.5BN in federal contracts go to small businesses.

Obama will propose a tax incentive to hire the unemployed. Tax cuts are not “big government”. We will “invest in our future”.

Questions from the audience:

1. Will we get high speed rail here in Buffalo?

A: The stimulus bill had biggest infrastructure improvements since the Eisenhower administration, and it will be a multi-year process, but through bipartisanship congress should find a financing mechanism to fund expansion of high speed rail. By building new infrastructure such as this would help grow businesses, would help the environment, and other countries, like China, are way past us in terms of this sort of infrastructure.

2. Senator Hatch was in Buffalo a month or so ago and he called it the “Europeanization of America”. Your thoughts?

A: People can label it whatever they want. The health care bill reforms insurance, and many of them take effect right now (for instance, 26 year olds can stay on parents’ policies). People can’t lose their policies if they get sick. No more lifetime limits. Goes through the other highlights from the health care reform package, including incentives to digitize medical records to ease communication between providers for better health care.

3. What is being done to do abolish the IRS and do a flat tax, and abolish the AMT?

A: The AMT was put in place to ensure that the wealthy could not completely avoid paying taxes through clever accounting and deductions. The problem was that congress didn’t index the AMT to adjust the amount each year to take inflation into account. So, the AMT as written is anachronistic and needs to be amended (or “patched”) every year. $70BN of the recovery act was to ensure that the AMT didn’t affect more people. Getting the debt and deficit under control…will be hard and difficult, but we can’t wait. As for the “fair tax” flat tax, Obama uses his taxes as an example – he had to pay a big check to the IRS because he earned a lot from his book. The more you make, the higher your tax rate, up to a maximum ceiling. But with a flat tax, and everyone is paying 10%, then Warren Buffett is paying the same 10% as someone with a minimum wage job. Ask: does that 10% take a bigger bite out of the paycheck of a supermarket cashier than Warren Buffett? A revenue-neutral flat tax would have to be pretty substantial, but represent a huge tax break for billionaires. He agrees with the principle of simplifying the tax code, and most of the complications come from lobbying in Washington.

4: Besides tax cuts and health care, is the administration looking to allocate resources to educating small business owners to give them the tools to become more efficient, smart, and effective?

A: Education to start / maintain a business is great for people who have a great idea but don’t really know how to be businesspeople, so he wants to ensure that the SBA is giving good technical training and advice to businesses. Even to existing ones looking to grow. We also need to make sure to improve the education system in general in America. We lag behind in international educational results, and need to make sure schools are excellent, especially for high tech; math and science. In every state, the federal government has a “race to the top” program to fund innovative improvements in the education system. Community colleges are a great bridge between high school and university. We have to look towards the future – what are the jobs of the future? Where is America going to be 20 years from now? We need to look at where the puck is going – not where the puck is.

The President’s visit wrapped up at 3:07 pm.

February 12, 2010

13 Feb

February 12, 2010

12 Feb

Courtesy Hero Design

A year ago today, a Colgan Air Dash 8 belly-flopped out of the sky onto a house on Long Street in Clarence Center.  Forty-nine people on the flight perished, and a man in the house was also killed.  The substantial factor in bringing about that accident, and those deaths, was pilot error and inexperience.  Instead of pushing down on the stick and adding thrust to regain lift, the pilot pulled back on the stick and worsened the aerodynamic stall the aircraft was already experiencing.  The crew did not notice that the aircraft was flying more slowly than it should have, so when flaps were extended and gear lowered, the added drag started a chain of events that was reversible, but in this case deadly and tragic.

Ironically, the Clarence Pundit wasn’t even in Clarence that night.  But my kids were, and I’ll never forget that night as long as I live.

May the victims of Colgan Air Flight 3407 rest in peace.

Pilot Error, Poor Training

3 Feb

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The NTSB concluded that Captain Marvin Renslow had three distinct opportunities to push flight 3407 out of an aerodynamic stall, to which he was alerted by the automatic stick-shaker in the aircraft. He and his first officer were complacent and distracted during their approach into BUF and didn’t notice that the aircraft was operating too slowly. When Renslow ordered his co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, to put the flaps out, that slowed the plane so much that it lost lift.

Had they been paying attention to the airspeed, someone would have kicked up the power to get some speed before applying flaps for landing. Had Renslow been adequately trained with the stick-shaker, he may have pushed the stick to dip the nose and get some speed, rather than follow his instinct – to pull the nose up, which was the exact wrong thing to do, and exacerbating the problem.

In the end, the aircraft belly-flopped onto a house in Clarence Center, killing 50. Based on the animation and reports from first responders, everyone on that aircraft knew exactly what was about to happen before it happened. And that is far more disturbing than the crash itself.

Ooga Booga

14 May

Well, clearly this explains everything.

$16,254

13 May

That’s what the first officer on Colgan flight 3407 earned per year. She was based out of Newark, but lived in Washington State. She moonlighted at a coffee shop.

That’s who Colgan thought should be flying planes with other people on them.

That’s no way to run an airline – paying first officers a rate of pay not unlike that of the kid who buses your tray at McDonald’s.

Today’s Flight 3407 Revelations

12 May

The NTSB released a video animation showing flight 3407’s last 2 minutes of flight. It’s quite disturbing to watch.

Here are the last few seconds picked up by the cockpit voice recorder:

I confess that I have to work for a living and didn’t get to watch the whole hearing today, but I’m not so much concerned with whether the captain pulled back on the stick rather than pushed to try and get the plane out of a stall – that merely proves that his reaction to the emergency was improper and fatal.

What I’m really curious about is why everything went all to shit when the captain ordered flaps set from 5 to 15.

But I’m haunted by that animation, especially the violent rolls the plane prior to its final dive. The people on that aircraft knew something was drastically wrong. They lived out their last moments in sheer terror. I can’t shake that thought right now.

Flight 3407 – the NTSB Investigates

12 May

The news from the NTSB regarding the Flight 3407 investigation is not likely to be good for the families of the victims, the families of the pilots, or the Colgan Air corporation. Reports yesterday indicated that the pilots were engaging in extended chit-chatting even after the aircraft descended past 10,000 feet at which point a “sterile cockpit rule” is supposed to be in effect.

There’s also information concerning the flight’s captain, Marvin Renslow and his flying background. He appears to have flunked several FAA check flights, had never been properly trained on how to react to a stick-shake during a stall, and that his head wasn’t “in the game”, spelling disaster in the split second it took for everything to go horribly wrong over Clarence Center’s four corners.

It all reminded me of an old George Carlin joke – somewhere is the worst airline pilot in the world, and someone’s boarding a flight with him today.

Colgan has since implemented a program whereby they eavesdrop on in-cockpit conversations to make sure pilots are focusing on the approach. The pilots’ union is balking, which makes no sense. If the rule exists, and must be enforced, and is there to ensure passenger safety, all of that trumps whether the boss is listening in. The union can go f*ck a brick on this point, as far as I’m concerned.

The cockpit voice recorded will be released today. Remember that it chronicles the deaths of about 50 people.

NTSB Update on Flight 3407

26 Mar

The NTSB investigation into Flight 3407 seems to be moving away from icing and moving in the direction of pilot error. When the stick shaker activated, the flight data recorder reveals that 25 lbs of pull pressure was applied to the controls, which aggravated the situation.

A preliminary examination of the airplane systems has revealed no indication of pre-impact system failures or anomalies. Investigators will perform additional examinations on the dual distribution valves installed in the airplane’s de-ice system. The de-ice system removes ice accumulation from the leading edges of the wings, horizontal tail, and vertical tail through the use of pneumatic boots. Read the rest after the jump Continue reading

Fred Phelps’ Cult Gets PWN3D in Clarence Center

23 Feb

On Sunday, these imbeciles came to my town:

They chose to leave Kansas, drive halfway around the country and spread their profane hate and filth:

A sorrier little trio of morons I’ve seldom seen.

But this is Western New York, and this is what greeted them:

About 100 average western New Yorkers from around the area came to Clarence Center to tell the hateful cretins to take it someplace else. No one wants these fools to preach hatred in our towns. No one wants these idiots to disrupt church services or preach their ignorant hatred. No one wants a bunch of morons to disrupt a memorial service for the victim of a plane crash. In WNY, Fred Phelps’ sorry group of cultists got pwn3d.

Photos courtesy of NY_Lucy at Flickr, who wrote about it at Artvoice.